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Creditors take legal action to halt sale of Western Bulk Chartering

The future of the Norwegian company formerly known as Western Bulk is in further danger. Now rebranded as Bulk Invest, creditors are baulking at the move by its owner to take over the firm’s chartering operations.

“The company has been informed that some of its main creditors have requested a legal injunction, requiring a reversal of the sale of Western Bulk Chartering AS (WBC) to Kistefos Equity Operations AS,” Bulk Invest said in a release today. Bulk Invest maintained the alleged claims are “completely unfounded” and said it will defend itself against them.

Kistefos is a private investment firm led by Christen Sveaas, who is chairman of Oslo-listed Bulk Invest. The firm acquired WBC in early February for an enterprise value of $47m, comprised of $16m in cash and the acquisition of an unsecured bond worth NOK 271m ($31m).

Yesterday, six unnamed Japanese shipowners also hit out at Kistefos’ acquisition of WBC, saying the deal should be reversed because the company was undervalued and its sale robbed Bulk Invest of much-needed liquidity.

Earlier this month, Bulk Invest sent a written request to its creditors, asking for dialogue to resolve the company’s financial situation.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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